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Growing Great Garlic (page 5 of 5)

by Robert Kourik

Garlic Varieties

Garlic Varieties
Curled scapes are typical of hardneck varieties.

There are two basic kinds of garlic, hardneck and softneck. Hardnecks (H) are considered the more primitive, wild form. They are generally easier to peel and offer a wider span of tastes. They produce a central stalk that you should remove soon after it appears so that heads reach full size. Softnecks (S) tend to be hotter, have a narrower range of flavor, and usually produce larger heads that last longer in storage.

'Artichoke' (S): Very adaptable. Named for how the cloves curl up around the core of smaller cloves just as the leaves of an artichoke curve up around its core.

'Asian Tempest' (S): One of the newer best-flavored and hottest varieties.

'Bogatyr' (H): Stays usable longer than most varieties of any type.

'Brown Saxon' (H): Stays usable longer than most softnecks.

'California Early' (S): Mild and slightly sweet flavor.

'California late' (S): Spicy hot.

'Carpathian red' (H): A hardneck variety that's sturdy and strong.

'Chet's Italian red' (S): A very mild variety.

'Creole red' (S): Good looking and good flavored, it's one of the top choices in most tastings. Does very well in Gulf Coast weather.

'Duganskij' (H): A mellow, moderately hot, and long-storing variety.

'German red' (H): Hot-flavored and tasty. A good choice for cold-winter regions.

'Inchelium red' (S): Large heads and hotter than otherwise comparable 'Chet's Italian Red'.

'Pitarelli' (H): A variety that stays usable longer than most softnecks.

'Siberian' (H): Flavorful and good in cold climates.

'Spanish roja' (H): Medium-sized cloves peel easily and offer medium-hot flavor. One of top choices in many garlic taste-offs.

A frequent contributor, Robert Kourik gardens near Chester Aaron in Occidental, California. Kourik was honored by the Garden Writers Association with a Quill & Trowell for this article in 1999.

Photography by National Gardening Association and Suzanne DeJohn/National Gardening Association

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